SEO Success Through Market Segmentation

Many consultants, trainers, and professional coaches come to search engine optimizing with overly grandiose expectations without the proper foundation.  When asked what their primary target keywords should be they’ll say something like, “sales training”.  While that’s a great keyword, it’s unlikely, at least in the short term, that the site will rank highly on that search phrase.  It would take a lot of time, effort, and probably money to be a top rank for something so general.  Rather than focus on a general term, break down key words in to segments that define your target audience.

The reason this strategy can be so effective is because it eliminates competition.  More accurately it narrows you down to you true competition so you can outperform their search rankings.  Here are a few examples of common segments.

Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Do you operate in a certain geographic area?  Then limit your terms to that locale.  Rather than a general search term, add the locations near you to the keyword targets.  Something like, “Pittsburgh Sales Training”.  This will ensure that you rank well for a more specific search and increases the likelihood that any leads generated from the term will be a viable prospect.

Service Specific Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Do you offer a specific service that’s a differentiator from other common services?  Try adding that to the search terms like, “Online sales training curriculum”.  Again this limits who will be targeting the keyword to ensure that you are ranking for terms ideally suited to your audience.

Affiliate Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Are you associated with a known quantity that could pull in interested parties?  Use the affiliation for specificity terms like, “CPE Certified Accounting Course”.  Searches for the affiliations invite the potential to be pulled in with top ranked offerings.

Segment For Your Target Market

Segmentation is really a process of identifying your target market and speaking to what makes you an ideal trainer, consultant, or professional coach to that group.

Are Your SEO Strategies Causing User Problems?

There are a lot of ways of manipulating your webpage’s code to improve search engine ranks.  While we want to use all the tools in our arsenal, they shouldn’t be abused.  Make sure that your SEO tactics aren’t causing user experience problems.

If you have a web template specifically set up with SEO in mind then chances are this is a minor or non-existent issue.  But for many consultants, trainers, and professional coaches, their site was set up with a professional look but not necessarily with SEO elements in mind.

Here’s a common example, using h1 or h2 tags can increase the value a search engine places on the content.  Many sites are built with a WordPress, Drupal, or other CMS template that has a set definition to how h1 and h2 tags display.  In an effort to highlight an important keyword one of these tags might be used in the body of a paragraph or across a whole sentence.  That can make the page look bad and create user problems.  Imagine if I wanted to highlight a particular phrase in a sentence:

You perceive traditional marketing strategies as exploitative and even manipulative behavior. It goes against your grain to think of yourself in the role of stereotypical selling. Handle the Pressures of Business Development. Text text text.

Unless it’s a very specific design decision the sentence looks like an error.  Do that several times throughout a page and it will be darn right hard to read.

Make sure that your template is responsibly adding SEO elements.  If the template is not well suited to add these elements, find ways of formatting the page so that it’s easy to read and works well for search engines.  The page needs to be usable to a person because all the traffic in the world won’t produce an ounce of value if people struggle to take in your message.

Social Media and Email Marketing: Your Movie Trailer

trailerI love movie trailers.  I will seek out the trailer for movies I am interested in and take in about any trailer that comes across my path.  I will actually get irritated if I am not in my seat at a theater when the trailers start.  But why seek out or get irritated about missing something that amounts to a short commercial for a movie I may or may not be interested in?  There are two primary reasons, one it’s an exciting sample of a larger offering, and two it provides a quick overview of something I might want to know more about.

Successful social media and email marketing campaigns provide the same two incentives.

Engaging Sample – What you email or post to social media should be your A material.  When’s the last time you saw a trailer with long developmental pieces of dialogue?  Never, because they want to show the most exciting or engaging parts of the movie to provide incentive to see it.  Many consultants, trainers, and professional coaches hold back their best information for fear that if they use it for marketing their audience will “figure out” what they do/teach and never pay for it. That won’t happen, at least not with people that are truly motivated to buy.  No one feels like they saw a movie because they took in the trailer. Make sure to provide samples of your most powerful metrics, insights, and tactics.

Content Summary – Providing quality content in your social media and email marketing is a draw for people that happen across it.  Those people are unlikely to organically take an interest in your products or services because they have not had a reason to look or think it doesn’t apply to them.  However, if they encounter something insightful that is easy to take in, they will pay attention.  Many times I’ve never heard of a movie or assume it’s not something I’m interested in. But if I see the trailer of that movie and it has engaging content, it can alter my perspective.  Your social media and email marketing has the same potential.  If you are providing quality information that grabs someone then they are likely to look further into it and be more receptive to future marketing communications.

Use social media and email marketing like a trailer.  Keep it short but powerful and remember to always provide a next step.  A trailer without a release date letting you know when the movie premiers might get interest but will also breed frustration on when the movie can be seen.  Always provide a next step to more information or a call to action so that the people that like your trailer know where they can see the movie.